Logistics vs Haulage: What’s the Difference?

Haulage and logistics are the most common terms used among trucking companies in the transportation industry. Though both the words seem similar, there is a fine line of difference between them. In simpler terms, haulage is just part of logistics. While logistics is a broad concept, haulage is a part of it. Haulage addresses transportation through one route, while logistics has a wider area to cover. Knowing these differences is important – especially for those working in trucking companies. To get a deeper insight into the two terms, let’s first see each term’s definition.

What is Logistics?

Logistics refers to the precise handling and organisation of a complex transport operation. Logistics is a broader term that involves planning & execution of effective transportation & storage of various kinds of goods from one location to the other. The goal of any logistic company is to meet the customer’s requirements through any means. The idea behind logistics is to deliver the end product or goods to the final client.

Traditionally, logistics are used to deliver goods to military personnel. However, today the term is used to deliver goods to customers cost-effectively. Companies specialising in logistics provide end-to-end service to manufacturers and retailers by helping them transport the goods to the end customer. They specialise in delivering everything from envelopes to even a 53′ trailer load. The idea behind logistics today is to save customers time and keep them stress-free.

What is Haulage?

Haulage refers to the commercial activities of transportation of goods via railway or roads. Or it can also be referred to as the movement of goods from one destination to the other. Haulage chiefly falls under two categories: merchant haulage and carrier haulage. A haulage company handles different types of goods, including food supplies, waste products, heavy machinery, perishable items and even minerals like coal. From being a part of the logistic industry, road haulage has become essential in most economies worldwide. Both haulage categories are related to the transportation of containers from one point to the other.

Carrier Haulage: this happens under the control of a shipping line using a haulage contractor chosen by the shipping company. The consignee here will have to pay for the same as per the line rate. When a line allows a carrier haulage movement, they also need to accept claims and liabilities that can arise during the move unless it is proved that the damage occurred due to a lack of proper cargo packaging.

Merchant Haulage: On the other hand, merchant haulage involves transporting a container from one destination to another directly through the consignee using their nominated haulage agency. Here the line does not have any liability for the movement & in case of any damage to the goods. The merchant dealing with it is held responsible.

What is the Difference Between Logistics & Haulage?

Now that you are pretty clear about the definition of haulage and logistics let’s quickly look at the chief differences between the two terms used in the transportation industry.

  • Logistics is a broader term involving goods transportation to the final customer through end-to-end organisation and implementation of ideas. Haulage is just a part of the logistics system, which involves moving goods from one destination to another via roads or rail.
  • The activities that logistics or trucking companies undertake involve a lot of steps. Everything is done by a logistic company, starting with demand forecasting, carton labelling, export packaging inspection, transportation management, customs clearance, distribution, and warehouse labelling. They take end-to-end responsibility for everything required to transport the goods to the end customer. In contrast, Haulage is restricted to transporting packaged goods from one end to another via different means.
  • The logistics department takes care of necessary data & documentation for cross-country or cross-border transportation, while haulage does not involve all these.

People often misunderstand haulage and logistics to be the same. However, the truth is both are pretty different from each other. When looking for transportation of goods (of any volume), one should always hire reputed logistics or trucking companies who can take end-to-end care of everything and deliver the goods in their best condition to the clients as fast as possible.